2 Trades from an opposing GM that turned the Mavericks into a monster

Dallas Mavericks, Dereck Lively II
Dallas Mavericks, Dereck Lively II / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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2. Mavericks trade down to draft Dereck Lively II while Thunder select Cason Wallace

On draft night, the Dallas Mavericks were going to do whatever they could to improve their roster around Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Mavs were coming off a season in which they missed the NBA Playoffs, and they needed to get back to their winning ways.

The Mavs were in rumors leading up to the draft that they may trade their pick for a win-now player, but they decided to make a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to get off of Davis Bertans' contract while trading back two spots.

lively trade

Dallas traded back from the No. 10 spot to the No. 12 spot, and the Mavs drafted Dereck Lively II while Sam Presti and the Thunder decided to take Cason Wallace. While both players ended up working out nicely for their respective teams in the end, Lively II was a much bigger difference-maker during his rookie year than Wallace was.

Lively II averaged 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in the Thunder series, but his biggest impact came in Game 6 as he finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds, and one block. No one knew that Lively II was going to be this good this quickly, and he ended up hurting the Thunder badly in this series.

The Mavs clogged the paint in this series with Lively II to prevent the Thunder from scoring at the rim, and this series could have gone differently if Lively II played for Oklahoma City. Having another rim protector outside of Chet Holmgren would have been big for them.